SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Dy CM to inaugurate joggers park today
Bathinda, September 22
The visitors to jogging and cycling track developed near the Rose Garden will be provided cycles at-the-spot to pedal and maintain their health. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal will inaugurate the ambitious project of the Bathinda Development Authority (BDA) on Monday.
The cycling and jogging track being spruced up ahead of its inauguration near Rose Garden in Bathinda on Sunday The cycling and jogging track being spruced up ahead of its inauguration near Rose Garden in Bathinda on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

fee exemption for sc, ST college students
Colleges interpret varsity letter their way
Bathinda, September 22
Refuting the allegations levelled by some student unions that the colleges in the city were flouting the rules set by the Punjabi University, Patiala, and were charging fees from the students belonging to the Scheduled Caste category, the college authorities have said that they didn't charge fee from such students.


EARLIER STORIES



If boys can, we too can: Girls cricket team of Rajindra College
Bathinda, September 22
If the boys can, we too can. This is the anthem of the all-girls cricket team of the Government Rajindra College, Bathinda. The newly-constituted team comprising 16 players is raring to go and will soon play a match in Barnala.


Members of the newly-formed girls cricket team of the Government Rajindra College along with their coach Ravi Kohli. Photo: Bhupinder Dhillon
Members of the newly-formed girls cricket team of the Government Rajindra College along with their coach Ravi Kohli

Septuagenarian, 2 sons booked for raping minor sisters
Bathinda, September 22
The police today booked a 72-year-old man and his two sons of 30 and 25 years for raping and molesting two minor orphan girls. The victims are four and seven years old. Their mother had left them around a year ago and started living with someone else in Uttar Pradesh. Their father died due to chronic tuberculosis around 10 days ago.

Mid-day meal cooks protest against govt
Bathinda, September 22
Members of the Democratic Mid-day Meal Cook Front, Punjab, have alleged that by deciding to hand over the task of cooking and serving food to students of a private firm, the state government has devised a way of making money from this scheme as well.

Mid-day meal cooks are protesting against the hiring of a firm to cook and serve food to children in government schools of the state. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma
Mid-day meal cooks are protesting against the hiring of a firm to cook and serve food to children in government schools of the state

Farmers lift dharna after govt assurance
Bathinda, September 22
The rising tension between the farmers and the police for the last two days subsided today in the evening with the state government assuring that the arrested farmers would be released and the agitating farmers agreeing to lift their dharna.

The protesters were demanding the release of the arrested farmers. A Tribune photograph


The protesters were demanding the release of the arrested farmers

Police arrests four with illegal arms; recovers stolen vehicles
Bathinda, September 22
Police claimed to have arrested four persons with illegal weapons in two separate cases. A case under various sections of the Arms Act was registered in this connection at the Rama Mandi and Talwandi Sabo police stations. The accused had brought the illegal weapons from Rajasthan, police said.
SP (D) Amarjit Singh showing the weapons recovered from the accused in Bathinda. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

SP (D) Amarjit Singh showing the weapons recovered from the accused in Bathinda

Police launches special drive against drug peddlers in city
Bathinda, September 22
In a special operation launched against drug peddlers in Bathinda, the police today arrested nine persons, including a woman, with poppy husk. Ten kilograms of poppy husk was recovered from a woman at the bus stand while 3 to 5 kg of poppy husk was recovered from the others who were arrested.
Police officials discuss a point before conducting a checking at the bus stand
Police officials discuss a point before conducting a checking at the bus stand. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma
Police personnel assemble outside the bus stand before conducting the checking in Bathinda on Sunday
Police personnel assemble outside the bus stand before conducting the checking in Bathinda on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Treatment free for girl child till 5 years of age
Bathinda, September 22
A girl child, up to the age of five years, will now be given free treatment in government hospitals and dispensaries. With this, practically all the visitors to the women and children hospitals, barring male children, will be treated free of cost.

Roll back hike in blood unit rates: NGOs
Bathinda, September 22
Protesting against the hike introduced in the rate of blood units, the Bathinda Association of NGOs (BANGO) has decided to launch a signature campaign on October 1 - the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day.





Top








 

Dy CM to inaugurate joggers park today
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Workers giving final touches to the stone meant for inauguration of the park by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal
Workers giving final touches to the stone meant for inauguration of the park by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Bathinda, September 22
The visitors to jogging and cycling track developed near the Rose Garden will be provided cycles at-the-spot to pedal and maintain their health. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal will inaugurate the ambitious project of the Bathinda Development Authority (BDA) on Monday.

BDA XEN Vasudev Anand said 10 cycles, including those for children, men and women, were being brought in. "As of now, the cycles will be provided free of cost after due registration. Later, when the Municipal Corporation, Bathinda (MCB), will take it over, it can charge nominal fees for the purpose as well as increase the brigade of cycles as per demand. Personal bicycles will not be allowed," he added.

It would be the first-of-its-kind project with tracks exclusively dedicated for jogging and cycling alongside the water tanks of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB).

Colourful lights, food plaza, public utilities and sheds for the cycles too have been added to the Rs 4.5-crore project. Since the power connection for lights and other paraphernalia was given today, the BDA team was seen busy testing all the equipment.

The first phase of the project is being inaugurated tomorrow. In the second phase, the BDA plans to cover the water tanks or isolate them from the tracks using railings.

"We understand that the children will be visiting this place and the open tanks may pose a danger. Even during his visit to the project site on September 14 last year, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had laid emphasis on ensuring that the water tanks were segregated with a partition," added another BDA official.

Municipal Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta said dedicated staff of around 30 would be required to run the project. "We have already floated tenders for outsourcing the staff. We expect to take over the project within a month. Till then, the BDA will look after it," he said.

Around 12 security men, 16 gardeners and two safai sewaks would be required to run the project efficiently. Food plaza will be outsourced after the MCB takes it over a month later.

Fact file

The jogging and cycling track has two different sections separated by a green belt. Private consultants were roped in for landscaping of the project. The jogging track is 2-metre wide while the width of the cycling track is 3 metres.

Top

 

fee exemption for sc, ST college students
Colleges interpret varsity letter their way
Nikhila Pant Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
Refuting the allegations levelled by some student unions that the colleges in the city were flouting the rules set by the Punjabi University, Patiala, and were charging fees from the students belonging to the Scheduled Caste category, the college authorities have said that they didn't charge fee from such students.

In a letter dated June 15, the Director, Education Department (College), had stated that the Welfare Department of the state government had issued directions in July 2007 that the students belonging to SC category will be covered under the Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme and will be exempted from paying any kind of fee or funds other than the refundable security fund.

Members of the Punjab State Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) had a few days back staged a protest against the colleges in the city and had pointed out that colleges were making the students belonging to the SC category pay the college fee. Interestingly, when Bathinda Tribune spoke to the college authorities, it found out that the colleges had interpreted the university's guidelines differently.

Principal of Government Rajindra College, Vijay Goyal, said, "This is a false allegation. We had received the letter from the university and have been following the guidelines set by it. At the time of admissions, we had asked the students to submit their caste documents and their fee and funds were waived instantly. We didn't even ask them to pay for the courses under the Higher Education Society although those are self-finance courses."

He, however, accepted that the SC students were made to pay the PTA fund "after seeking permission from the DPI (higher education)". "The SC students were made to pay the examination charges and Rs 900 as the PTA fund which is quite nominal considering we haven't raised it in the last 4-5 years. We had sought permission from the department concerned. The DPI had authorised us to charge the students and inform it accordingly," Goyal said, and added that the only other amount that these students paid was Rs 200 towards library security fee which is refundable.

When contacted, principal of the DAV College, Dr JS Anand said, "We had pasted the university's letter twice on the college's notice board. The only amount that the students belonging to the scheduled caste category were asked to pay was Rs 2,000 as university charges. We even announced that those who are unable to pay Rs 2,000 will be exempted from doing so."

He added that the college had asked the student beneficiaries of the scheme to make sure that they had all the requisite documents and submitted the same with the college authorities at the time of the admission.

"The scholarship scheme covers only those SC students who belong to financially backward families. Those SC students who belong to families with a higher income will not be covered under the scheme," Dr Anand added.

"Cases of students who submitted their documents will be forwarded to the Welfare Department of the state. Why would we go against the university's rules?" he asked.

Top

 

If boys can, we too can: Girls cricket team of Rajindra College
Nikhila Pant Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
If the boys can, we too can. This is the anthem of the all-girls cricket team of the Government Rajindra College, Bathinda. The newly-constituted team comprising 16 players is raring to go and will soon play a match in Barnala.

Undeterred by what people and in some cases, their own family members had to say, these 16 girls came together to form a team. "Inspired by the India's national women's cricket team, this team also wishes to show the world that boys can't have all the fun," says the team's coach, Ravi Kohli.

The team's vice-captain, Sandeep Kaur, a student of BA (final year), says she was inspired by watching other girls play cricket. "When I joined the college, I saw senior girls playing in the college. I decided that I also wanted to play the game which hitherto I had only been watching on television," she says.

"Although my parents were supportive of my decision to choose cricket, my brother had apprehensions. He held the belief that the game was meant for boys. He often asked me to choose some other game. Now, he has also come to terms with my decision," she adds.

The team captain, Mandeep Kaur, didn't have to face any such opposition from any family member. "My parents, brother and sister-in-law supported my decision. They have been propping me up, not only emotionally but financially as well," says Mandeep, who used to play badminton in school.

"I have been playing cricket since I took admission in this college," says Mandeep, who is now studying MA political science (part 1). "In these four years, I have been part of the Punjabi University's girls cricket team four times and have participated in national-level inter-university matches," she adds.

Not the one to change her mind according to what the people have to say about girls playing cricket, Mandeep plans to complete her post-graduation and take admission in the Moga Academy of Cricket for Women.

"Now that we have started walking on a less-trodden path, there is no looking back. What's the point of taking a decision first and then retracting it? The fact that there is an Indian women cricket team shows that public mindset is changing and we are part of that change," she adds.

After listening to what the girls have to say, one doesn't wonder why the team's coach has so much faith in the team. "If the boys can do it, so can the girls. In fact, when I see them play, I figure out that some of them play better than the boys," says Kohli, who coaches the boys' teams too.

Top

 

Septuagenarian, 2 sons booked for raping minor sisters
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
The police today booked a 72-year-old man and his two sons of 30 and 25 years for raping and molesting two minor orphan girls. The victims are four and seven years old. Their mother had left them around a year ago and started living with someone else in Uttar Pradesh. Their father died due to chronic tuberculosis around 10 days ago.

The accused have been identified as Ranjeet Singh Nihang and his sons Buta Singh (30) and Gurditta Singh (25). While Ranjeet Singh's wife died a few years ago his young brothers are unmarried.

After the victims' mother had left for UP, the accused, who own a two room house in Amarpura Basti, offered shelter to the duo. Apart from doing menial chores, the girls were repeatedly molested and raped by the man and his two sons.

Investigating officer in the case, Sub Inspector Manjit Singh said the girls belong to a poor family and their father was a rickshaw puller. The accused too are rickshaw pullers and are addicted to various forms of drugs.

The victimisation came to fore when the girls complained of severe pain and a female social worker of the area along with some journalists enquired into the matter. The matter was further brought into the notice of the police following which the accused were arrested.

The police said the victim girls' fate was yet to be decided by the court of Sub Divisional Magistrate and they would either be sent to some orphanage or handed over to someone else for better upbringing.

Top

 

Mid-day meal cooks protest against govt
Say decision to outsource cooking and serving of food in schools to West Bengal-based firm is flawed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
Members of the Democratic Mid-day Meal Cook Front, Punjab, have alleged that by deciding to hand over the task of cooking and serving food to students of a private firm, the state government has devised a way of making money from this scheme as well.

In a press statement released here today, the Front said it was recently announced that the contract for providing mid-day meals to government schools falling within the municipal limits of the city had been given to a private firm, Bishalakshmi, from West Bengal.

The Front argued that a similar method had been adopted by the government to provide mid-day meal to the students in Ludhiana, Fazilka and Ferozepur and a number of complaints regarding the quality of food given to the students and their parents boycotting the mid-day meal scheme have come to the fore.

The Front pointed out that to cover up its fault, the government ended the contract in these districts and announced that in order to provide freshly-prepared, clean food to students, food will be prepared in the school itself.

It added that instead of learning a lesson from its mistake, the government was adopting the same policy once again and had announced that beginning on October 1, mid-day meal will be prepared by the firm which has been given the contract and directed the school authorities to dismiss the cooks from duty.

The Front has asked the government to roll back its decision to hand over the contract to a private firm or else the mid-day meal cooks, in association with the parents of the students, will launch a protest against the government. The union also threatened that in case any cook is asked by the school authorities to leave the job, the cooks will gherao the school principal concerned.

The mid-day meal cooks alleged that the government was playing a dangerous game by announcing "anti-people" policies months before the Lok Sabha polls and that the union was all set to reveal the government's true colours before the public.

The activists of the Democratic Mid-day Meal Cook Front, Punjab, also accused the Education Minister, Sikander Singh Maluka, of devising ways to earn money from the scheme which explained why the contract had been given to a private firm from West Bengal. They added that the decision was not surprising for a minister like Maluka who has been named in the book scam as well.

Accusing the state government of ignoring the scheme, the union alleged that despite the fact that the scheme was being run as a Centre-State partnership in the ratio of 75:25, the state government has always been shying away from bearing its part of the expenses and spending the grant released by the Central Government.

The union added that for the year 2011-12, the Central Government had sent a grant of Rs 175.62 crore and the Punjab government's 25 per cent share was to the tune of Rs 50.82 crore. The state government, however, spent only Rs 175.62 crore out of the total grant of Rs 226.68 crore.

The Front also listed their last demand that the cooks of all the districts of the state be given training.

Fact file

  • The Democratic Mid-day Meal Cook Front, Punjab, argued that a similar method had been adopted by the government to provide mid-day meal to students in Ludhiana, Fazilka and Ferozepur and a number of complaints regarding the food quality came to the fore.
  • The Front pointed out that to cover up its fault, the government ended the contract in these districts and announced that in order to provide freshly-prepared, clean food to students, food will be prepared in the school itself.
  • According to the Front, the government was adopting the same policy again and had announced that beginning on October 1, mid-day meal will be prepared by the firm which has been given the contract and directed the school authorities to dismiss the cooks from duty.
  • The Front has asked the government to roll back its decision or else, the mid-day meal cooks, in association with the parents of the students, will launch a protest against the government.
  • The union also threatened that in case any cook is asked by the school authorities to leave the job, the cooks will gherao the school principal concerned.

Top

 

Farmers lift dharna after govt assurance
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
The rising tension between the farmers and the police for the last two days subsided today in the evening with the state government assuring that the arrested farmers would be released and the agitating farmers agreeing to lift their dharna.

Heated arguments ensued today in the morning in Lehra Dhoorkut village where farmers carrying foodstuff were intercepted by the policemen. To thwart the arrival of farmers in the village, the police had blocked the entry to avert any road blockade.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ravcharan Brar said farmers have been told not to put commuters to inconvenience and any bid to block the city or outer roads in the district would not be allowed.

Hundreds of farmers, including women, children and members of the BKU (Ekta-Ugraha) were camping in Lehra Dhoorkut and Maisarkhana villages for the last two days after the arrest of the farmer leaders.

Protesters raised slogans against the state government run by the SAD-BJP alliance for the arrest of farmers who opposed the shifting of power meters outside their houses in Amritsar.

Bathinda block president of the union, Amreek Sivia said the dharna was lifted in view of the state government's assurance to release the arrested farmers. More than a dozen farmers, including women, were arrested in Bathinda in the wake of the announcement to block the roads by the farmers.

The farmers said that in view of the second death anniversary of noted playwright Gursharan Singh on September 27 in Barnala, the dharna has now been postponed. Farmers from villages in Malwa have been told to reach the function organised in memory of Gursharan Singh who highlighted the tyranny on farmers in villages through theatre.

The farmer union leaders said they would again stage protests if the government failed to release the arrested farmers in a day or two.

They added that farmers are now gearing up to stage plays and dramas to highlight the tyrannical attitude of the state government and the police to suppress the voice of the people.

FAct file

  • Heated arguments ensued at Lehra Dhoorkut village where farmers were intercepted by the policemen.
  • SSP Ravcharan Brar said farmers were told that any bid to block the roads in the district would not be allowed.
  • The farmers said that in view of the second death anniversary of noted playwright Gursharan Singh on September 27 in Barnala, the dharna has now been postponed.

Top

 

Police arrests four with illegal arms; recovers stolen vehicles
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
Police claimed to have arrested four persons with illegal weapons in two separate cases. A case under various sections of the Arms Act was registered in this connection at the Rama Mandi and Talwandi Sabo police stations. The accused had brought the illegal weapons from Rajasthan, police said.

SP (D) Amarjit Singh and DSP (D) Ranjeet Singh said the accused were arrested on the basis of a tip-off provided by an informer in Talwandi Sabo. They were sent to judicial remand today by the court.

DSP Ranjeet Singh said the accused had procured the illegal weapons to flaunt it before their friends. The accused, Varinder Singh alias Bimpy of Talwandi Sabo and Rahul Jain of Rama Mandi, have been arrested with two .315 bore country-made pistol and cartridges while Mandeep Singh of Talwandi Sabo has been arrested with a .32 bore pistol and one live cartridge. Gurwinder Singh Gora has been arrested with a .315 bore pistol and one live cartridge.

Meanwhile, police also claimed to have recovered 23 stolen vehicles from Ludhiana, Panipat, Malerkotla and other districts of Punjab and adjoining states.

DSP Ranjeet Singh said the Rajasthan police had arrested three vehicle lifters, including two residents of Mansa and one from Delhi. They were arrested in Sri Ganganagar and brought to Bathinda on two days of production remand.

After their in-depth interrogation, three more accused, Gurpreet from Ludhiana, Pardeep from Moga and Harbhagat Singh from Amritsar, were arrested from whom the police managed to recover 23 stolen vehicles of which five had been stolen from Bathinda. In total, they had stolen eight luxury vehicles of which five were recovered.

The accused further revealed the names and addresses of their accomplices, identified as Paramjit of Amritsar, Amandeep Singh of Ludhiana, Rajesh Kumar of Moga, Raju of Delhi besides two unidentified persons.

Out of a total of 36 stolen vehicles, 23 have been recovered by the police and efforts are on to recover the remaining three stolen luxury vehicles from Bathinda, the DSP said.

Top

 

Police launches special drive against drug peddlers in city
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
In a special operation launched against drug peddlers in Bathinda, the police today arrested nine persons, including a woman, with poppy husk. Ten kilograms of poppy husk was recovered from a woman at the bus stand while 3 to 5 kg of poppy husk was recovered from the others who were arrested.

Kotwali SHO Karamjit Singh said the operation was launched on the directive of IG Nirmal Singh Dhillon and SSP Ravcharan Brar. He said these arrests were made during the combing of areas falling under the Kotwali, Civil Line, Canal, Thermal and bus stand police stations.

Karamjit Singh said so far, six cases have been registered in this connection.

SSP Ravcharan Brar said special instructions have been received from the senior police functionaries to clamp down against drug peddling.

It is pertinent to mention here that the action of the police force against the drug peddlers is believed to be the follow-up of instructions received in this regard from Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Top

 

Treatment free for girl child till 5 years of age
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
A girl child, up to the age of five years, will now be given free treatment in government hospitals and dispensaries. With this, practically all the visitors to the women and children hospitals, barring male children, will be treated free of cost.

Under the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), a female child in the age-group of 0 to 1 years, is given treatment free of cost, while the children above the age of 5 years, were being covered under the school education programme run in different districts.

As per the orders of the managing director of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC), a girl child till the age of five years will be given free treatment, free diagnosis and free surgery.

The move is aimed at providing better healthcare facilities with special emphasis on improving sex ratio in children below five years of age. Already, the government is running a cashless delivery facility for pregnant women, wherein the government ambulances pick and drop women free of cost. With the new category of free patients added, there would be a decline in the collection of user charges at the hospital.

"The facility will ensure that no girl child is discriminated against on the basis of gender and not provided treatment because of want of funds. We have already stopped charging for the treatment of the girl child though the details of surgery and diagnosis of children is yet to arrive from the government," said the senior medical officer of Women and Children Hospital, Bathinda, Dr BS Gill.

Top

 

Roll back hike in blood unit rates: NGOs

Bathinda, September 22
Protesting against the hike introduced in the rate of blood units, the Bathinda Association of NGOs (BANGO) has decided to launch a signature campaign on October 1 - the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day.

This was decided at a meeting of BANGO convened to discuss the strategy of impressing upon the government the need to withdraw the increased rates of blood units. Under the campaign, BANGO will reach out to the common man, to associate them with the signature spree. The appeal will then be sent to health department.

Also, the BANGO will hold a rally at Fire Brigade chowk on October 1. Coordinator, BANGO, Sonu Maheshwari said NGOs from Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa and Moga etc will take part in the protest march. TNS

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |